This report 'Covid-19 and Europe-China Relations' published by The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) contains 19 chapters from European countries. Ties Dams, Frans-Paul van der Putten and Monika Sie Dhian Ho contributed the chapter on the Netherlands (p.43).
The Covid-19 crisis has hit at a time when debates over the need to adopt more coherent strategies towards China have been emerging across Europe. In many ways, the current crisis has become a catalyst for a number of trends that have been shaping Europe-China relations in recent years, while in other ways it has turned the tables. It has simultaneously brought Europe and China into closer cooperation, pushed them further apart, and seemingly underlined the fractures that exist within Europe on how to approach an increasingly influential China.
Netherlands: Tough questions, stronger answers in the face of Covid-19 and a more audacious China
The Covid-19 crisis shows an increasingly audacious China: eager to show leadership and no longer apprehensive to throw mud when provoked. Sino-Dutch relations has become a topic that raises fundamental questions about privacy, loyalties and strategic autonomy that are far from being answered.
It is clear that the extreme dependence of the Netherlands and other European countries on protective material (e.g. face masks) will trigger a debate on the coordination of investments in production of these materials in Europe, European strategic autonomy in this regard and European industrial policy.